Swiss risk managers focus on sustainability

Association aims to expand into French-speaking Switzerland

The Swiss Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (SIRM) finally addressed the topic of sustainability at its recent forum in Bern. It had originally been scheduled for 2020 before Covid-19 came along, cancelling the 2020 event and taking over the 2021 forum as last year’s hot topic.

Daniele Zucchi, SIRM board member, said: “We built up an event with six different speakers approaching the topic from different angles. This is what SIRM is about – giving different perspectives on forum topics for the benefit of our members and the community here today.”

His board colleague Jurrit Herber stressed the need to move beyond discussing sustainability in general terms towards defining specific ways of applying sustainable practices. He commented: “People in the risk community are searching for their exact role. So, it’s important to provide guidance to all the members as to where they can add value.”

Given the global nature of the big contemporary risks, such as climate change or cybersecurity, this guidance needs to be broad-based. That is why SIRM has been a member of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations since 1990.

Zucchi observed: “We cannot see SIRM isolated from the wider context, which is the European one. SIRM benefits from the experience of being in this larger federation. We can bring this experience to our members.”

One way SIRM does that is through cultivating working groups. Evelyn Lämmli, also a SIRM board member, explained how these groups are based on a theme, for example international claims, or an industry such as retail. The members meet twice a year to discuss common challenges.

SIRM’s membership is growing as ten new members joined the association this year. The board welcomes this development and is looking in particular towards French-speaking Switzerland for further growth.

Zucchi explained: “The task that we have is to expand our base in French-speaking Switzerland. The idea is for us to integrate some of the risk managers there into the board, so we can finally have a full representation of Swiss companies in SIRM.”

SIRM appears to be more relevant than ever as it looks forward to a landmark year in 2023. Zucchi said: “In 2023, SIRM will be 50. There is something big boiling [referring to the next year’s forum].”

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